Wed, August 21, 2002  9:23 am

20020821222307600_1.jpgOne positive result of the 9/11 tragedy is that people now takes travel precaution more seriously. Since then private and government offices are issuing travel advisory to their employees who travel outside U.S.

Only recently for U.S. federal employees traveling to countries classified “high risk” including the Philippines, either on official or unofficial trip, attendance in a terrorism seminar is mandatory, also for accompanying spouses. They are provided safety tips on how to avoid becoming victims of terrorist attacks.

Concerned as we are on the well-being and safety of our fellow Danawnaons, we have issued our own travel advisory appropriate for the Balik Danao travelers leaving this September to attend the City Fiesta celebration.

Although, Danao remains the most peaceful city in the country, if not in the world, still we find it necessary to warn Danawanons of possible situations that can be life-threatening.

We have listed the most basic safety tips as a reminder for homebound Danawanon Balikbayans especially those who have not been home for a long time.

Many of these were contributed by past Balik Danao travelers, who had the unpleasant experience or had friends who were victims.

Travel Tips.

• Avoid the beach, from Taytay to Sabang, there are more land mines there than one can find in Algeria or Afghanistan; its olfactory explosion can damage permanently your sense of smell.

• Always on the lookout for wayward pedestrians or drivers of pedicabs or any type of vehicles. When their cell phones beep for incoming text messages, pedestrians don’t stop or drivers don’t pull over to read and answer messages, they just read and respond instantly as they walk or drive. Fish vendors are texting as they walk, freeing their hands off the hapag full of tulingan or tamarong on top their head. If you’re not careful and bump into one, fish can be all over you and into your bra.

• Peeing by the roadside, at a church corner, at the seawall or any public area is now bawal. If you’re a balikbayan caught violating this ordinance you have no choice but request your employer to extend your vacation for another six months or, in the alternative, pay a penalty equivalent to a 3-month ($) salary in lieu of jail. (This is more lenient than the 20 lashes for spitting in a park in Singapore. ed)

• Touching or holding hands with a girl under 18 can be risky and can literally end or ruin your life, regardless your action is consensual. In recent years, a number of foreigners and balikbayans in Cebu have been charged and jailed without bail for statutory rapes of minor, real or imagined. Some enterprising attorneys in Cebu make this type of cases a lucrative cottage industry. They don’t settle for less than two hundred K ($). If found guilty, it is punishable by death or life in prison. (Demand or insist to see a birth certificate or at least, a cedula,(and make copies) if some girls do try to be over-friendly with you.)

• Leave your orig Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi or Chanel handbags at home. With thousands of fakes sold at Colon and Freedom Park, no one will appreciate anymore how classy you are, because even Gaisano tinderas are carrying these signature bags with their lunch of rice and tinabal inside their “Louis Vuitton”. Only the snatchers are sharp enough to distinguish yours is genuine.

• Take off any form of jewelries, fake or real, especially if you need to walk around Colon area to visit your Alma Mater (UV, USJ-R or CCC.) or when you watch a movie and re-enact with your husband or ex-boyfriend your first date at the balcony of Cinema or Majestic Theaters. If your jewelry is real or authentic, 99% chance snatchers will run with it and if it’s fake or fancy, snatchers will have you swallow the fake jewelry and berate you for putting him at unnecessary risk or wasting his time and effort.

• Watch out for a “tuko” (house lizards). There are lots of them in any house in Danao, big or small, kawayan or concrete, If you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, double check there is no “tuko” lurking inside the “inudoro” bowl before you sit down. One balikbayan was awaken one night by his wife’s scream in the bathroom because a “tuko” gut stuck in her “you know where” when she sat down in the “inudoro”. “It took him a while to pry the thing off of her without taking some of her skin with it. “When I finally got it off, I swear I see a smile on the “tuko’s” face.” Mr. Danao Balikbayan said.

• If you’re a good looking young man, avoid talking or even staring at a beautiful girl otherwise you’ll end up, not as a volunteer but a patient at the Medical Mission. There is a high probability that this pretty lass is a girlfriend of a cop or certain drug dealer. Find out first from the locals her background or lifestory, before making any moves.

• If you really crave for tuba, make sure it comes from a coconut tree, and not made by a ‘chemist’ at the basement of his house, mixing water with citric and a little muriatic acid and food coloring, otherwise, just keep a good supply of Imodium or lomotil.

• One Danao balikbayan in Y2K has this experience and advises: “Because it is most likely you will suffer from an LBM, after eating too much of those exotic fruits or kinilaw, “wherever you go, never, and I mean never, go anywhere without some kind of tissue or toilet paper with you. Yes you may be able to find some restrooms (or CR’s as they’re called there), but they usually don’t stock them with toilet papers because people will take them home. Imagine my surprise when I was in the middle of doing no. 2 when I discovered that the toilet rack is empty and there was no other paper (in any form or shape, not even an “agungal”) I could find within my reach. In SM, there was a vending machine inside the bathroom but outside the stalls, where one can buy toilet papers. I was able to round up enough change for the machine from my pocket, but I have to do a squat-walk just to keep my butt checks separated.”

• Always bring cash with you. Whether you’re buying paltik or kasahos, or paying your hotel bills at El Salvador or Intosan, you pay in cash. Checks or credit cards don’t work in Danao.

• Remember there is no special treatment because you’re with the Balik Danao Group or a DAUSA member; no one is exempt or get free admission at those nightly fiesta events; everyone must buy a ticket to get inside the Gym and those tiketeras at the gate definitely don’t have a change for your hundred dollar bill, when you need to pay only 100 or 200 pesos.

• If you’re attending the Balik Danao Night or any of its nightly events, don’t ever think, because your gown was made by Vera Wang or it’s a DKNY, you now look like Madame Claudia or Melanie Marquez. You need to consult Toribia or Sister Soledad, and get their honest opinion if your dress is appropriate. Remember those “nice” people around you at the Gym are there to watch what the Balikbayans are wearing, and their comments are circulated in seconds by texting. Yes, it’s as if you were at the Oscars and you were some celebrity. To be safe, buy your dress at the Merkado and you’re helping the local economy.


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